Education and Lobbying

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Private Scholarship Bill Veto Shows Unions Still in Control

Earlier this week, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, killed a bill that would have brought opportunity to millions of inner-city minorities across the state of Pennsylvania. In a move that was expected, Wolf vetoed an education bill that would have allowed tax relief to more companies that donate money for scholarships.  

House Bill 800, which would have benefited many private, parochial, and charter schools, stood to give unprecedented school choice to minority students currently forced into Pennsylvania’s failing urban public school system.

No Choice for You

Wolf’s move came as no surprise; his attachment to the educational establishment is heavily reliant upon the support of the unions that got him elected. This bill would have allowed parents more options to choose where their children attend school, which, in turn, would have moved students out of the union indoctrination camps that Pennsylvania urban public schools have become.

Unions are in total control of Democrat policy in the state of Pennsylvania.

Unions First, Students Last

Wolf’s placing education second over union desires is not “new” news. In 2016, Wolf vetoed a wildly popular bill that would have allowed schools to scrap the union favoring “first in, last out rule” and reformed union seniority. The 2016 bill was designed to allow schools to maintain excellent teachers who were subject matter experts rather than generalists who were “just putting in time till retirement.”

This bill was seen as a stopgap measure to prevent the hemorrhaging of union support as younger teachers tend to be less willing to “fork over” their money for union dues now that the Supreme Court has ruled closed shops illegal in the public sector.

Wolf’s veto is just another example of how unions are still allowed to control Democrat policy in the state of Pennsylvania. By eliminating this potential threat to unions by preventing parental choice, Wolf has effectively ensured that the gravy train will keep rolling.  

Teachers’ Unions Control Democrats

For those of you who are unaware, this is how the process works:

  1. Schools are paid by the state for each student attending based on the property tax and the millage of each school district;
  2. Union use this funding to increase teacher salaries (which tend to be low) with the caveat that a portion of these salaries, even from non-union teachers, go to the union for bargaining and lobbying activities (basically a protection racket);
  3. The unions take this money, and through campaign donations, sponsor Democrat officeholders and candidates who oppose parents determining where their kids go to school;
  4. This gives the unions and the Democrats unprecedented control over the curriculum (which does not line up with what students need in college or in the real world) and school choice.

These efforts are augmented by arguments that “private teachers do not have the same requirements as public school teachers,” which, by and large, is correct. Private schools require teachers to complete continuing education in the subject matter in which they teach, not Democrat or union rallies dressed up to look like continuing education sessions. Unions are angry because citizens of Pennsylvania want parents rather than the Democrat National Committee or the AFL-CIO to choose what their kids are being taught.

Legalized Bribery in Pennsylvania

Overall, this abomination by Gov. Wolf shows the legalized bribery in the system that we call “lobbying.” Until we get money out of politics, we are going to have California and Chicago buying our elections. This cannot be the case.

As a nation, we need to ensure that the politicians in local districts have the say over who represents them, not out-of-state big money buying up poor districts.

Call your state representative and ask him or her to sponsor a bill that says all campaign donations and PAC advertisements must come from within the district. Then you will see if your representative is loyal to the district or loyal to his or her checkbook.

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer is a writer for NRN and an adjunct professor at both Penn State University and the University of South Florida. He is the author of several books, most recently “A Criminal History of the Democrat Party” which is available on Amazon and via the publisher, Elite Exclusivity. Follow on Twitter at @Acriminalhisto1

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